Project Management

Can We? Should We? Are We? The PM as Business Representative

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

Projects are the means by which strategy is realized and organizational change is managed. Not only does this reinforce the importance of projects and project management to organizational success, it also suggests that those delivering projects--and particularly project managers--need to have a strong understanding of the organizations and environments in which they are delivering projects.

This perspective is reinforced in PMI's shift to its "Talent Triangle," which argues that successful project managers should have a combination of technical, leadership and strategy and business management skills. The driver of this transition is feedback received from executives and organizations--particularly through PMI's 2013 Pulse of the Profession study. It responds to the assertion made by employers that there is a need for project managers with more leadership and business intelligence skills.

I certainly don't disagree with the notion that project managers need solid leadership abilities, an appreciation of the business and environmental context of the organization that they serve, or an understanding of strategy and how projects support the realization of strategic objectives. Having made that argument many times in the past, I would be a raving hypocrite if I questioned it today.

At the same time, there is a caution that needs to be raised and …


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